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Pronounced: [-kunːuluːdʒuŋːo]
Timeline and Universe:
Species: Human
Total speakers:
Writing system:
Morphology: Agglutinative
Morphosyntax: Split-ergative
Word order: SOV
Creator: Qwynegold
Created: April 2010


Phoneme inventory

Bilabial Labiod. Alveolar Post-alv. Velar Glottal
Nasal /m/ /n/ /ŋ/
Plain Plosive /p/ [b] /t/ [d] /k/ [ɡ]
Aspirated Plosive /pʰ/ /tʰ/ /kʰ/
Fricative /f/ /s/ /z/ /ʃ/ /ʒ/ /h/
Affricate /ts/ /tʃ/ /dʒ/
Rhotic /*r/1
Lateral Approximant [l]
1The exact quality of the rhotic is unknown.

There are long/geminated versions of the consonants {/n, p, t, k, s, r/} (/rː/ is phonetically [lː]) that are very common. The consonants {/m, , , , f, ʃ, ts} may also be long/geminated, but they are very rare. (Geminated /ts/ has two contrastive realizations: /tsts/ and /tːs/.)

Front Back
High /i/ /y/ /u/ /uː/
Mid /e/ /ø/ /o/ /oː/
Low /ɑ/
Front-Front Front-Back Back-Front Back-Back
High /jy/ /ju/ /juː/ /wi/ /wy/ /wuː/
Mid /je/ /jø/ /jo/ /joː/ /we/ /ue/ /wø/ /wo/
Opening Low /jɑ/ /wɑ/
Closing Low /ɑi/ /ɑu/


  • The velar nasal is long if intervocalic, and short otherwise.
  • The short unvoiced plosives are voiced if intervocalic.
  • The liquid is a rhotic at the beginning of a word and before /w/, but [l] in other positions.
  • /jy/ and /jø/ only appear in a few suffixes as the counterparts of /jo/ resp. /joː/ due to vowel harmony.

Phonological constraints

The syllable structure of Proto-Kunnu-lūjungo is (O)V(C) where O is any consonant but /ŋ/, C is any consonant other than {/z, ʒ, h, ts, /}, and V is any single vowel or diphthong. /j/ and /w/ do not count as consonants, but as a part of a diphthong.<p> The geminated or long consonant can only appear intervocalically, and count as being in two syllables at once. The onset of such a consonant belong to the same syllable as the vowel preceding it, while the release of the consonant belong to the same syllable as the vowel following it.

Morphological processes

  • When a suffix that begins with a long consonant or a voiced plosive or /z/ is added to a word that ends with a consonant, the initial consonant of the suffix becomes a single unvoiced consonant. For this reason, in the lists of suffixes in this article, the first consonant letter representing a long consonant is put in parenthesis (for example like this: -(t)to). The voicing change however is not indicated, so attention is required.
  • When two aspirated consonants are adjacent, or when a plain plosives is followed by its aspirated version, those two become a long aspirated plosive.
  • When a suffix changes the last vowel of a word, diphthongs count as one vowel. So for example the singular first person pronoun pot'ya with the ergative suffix -ak' is pot'ak' and not *pot'yak'. An exception is if the dipthong begins with /j/ or /w/ that is preceded by a vowel, in which case the /j/ or /w/ is retained.

Vowel harmony

Proto-Kunnu-lūjungo has front-back vowel harmony. In the list below, front vowels have been marked with blue and back vowels with red. There are also neutral vowels, which are /u, uː, ju, juː, wuː/. Each suffix is by default front or back (unless it is neutral), and if the suffix is attached to a word of the opposite affinity, the vowels in the suffix will change according to this list (note that not all vowels make matching pairs, for example the opposite of /ue/ is /wo/, but the opposite of /wo/ is /wø/).

  • ɑe
  • eɑ
  • i → u
  • oø
  • wy
  • øo
  • y → u
  • ɑii
  • ɑui
  • uewo
  • je
  • je
  • jo
  • joːjy
  • we
  • we
  • wiwuː
  • wo
  • wo
  • wy

Throughout this article, suffixes that go with back vowel words are consistently with red, and suffixes going with front vowel words are marked with blue. Whenever there are two versions of a suffix, the one that is first presented is used with neutral words.


<p style="text-align: center;">A a, B b, Ch ch, D d, E e, F f, G g, H h, I i, J j, K k, Kh kh, L l, M m, N n, Ng ng, O o, Ō ō, Ö ö, P p, Ph ph, R r, S s, Sh sh, T t, Th th, Ts ts, U u, Ū ū, Ü ü, W w, Y y, Z z, Zh zh

Letter Pronunciation
A a ɑ
B b b
Ch ch
D d d
E e e
F f f
G g ɡ
H h h
I i i
J j
K k k
Kh kh
L l l
M m m
N n n
Ng ng ŋ
O o o
Ō ō
Ö ö ø
P p p
Ph ph
R r *r
S s s
Sh sh ʃ
T t t
Th th
Ts ts ts
U u u
Ū ū
Ü ü y
W w w
Y y j
Z z z
Zh zh ʒ
The voiced plosives and the lateral are represented in the romanization, even though they are not phonemic.

Long or geminated consonant are represented by doubling the consonant letter or digraph (so for example /kː/ is <kk> and /ʃː/ is <shsh>). But the apostrophe of the aspirated consonants is not duplicated however (so for example /kːʰ/ is <kk'>).




There are two kinds of verbs in Proto-Kunnu-lūjungo, stative and active. The stative verbs describe the state of something, for example mūzōng - be hungry, k'yokyak'ya - like, etc. Adjectives may also be zero-derived into verbs. These adjective-verbs are always stative.

Final verbs

Verbs that are inherently intransitive end with the same suffix that is used for active voice. This whole suffix is deleted when another suffix (like the causative voice or imperative mood) requires deletion of the final syllable of the stem.


In the following table, the affixes marked with blue go together with front vowel words, and the ones in red with back vowel words. If a word has only neutral vowels, the affix that stands first in the morphology column will be used.

Voice Morphology Example
Unmarked -∅ pot'ak' ubōtta p'yowochyang - I eat an apple
pot'ak' tallūda kweding - I hear a song
Active -(t)to
pot'a p'yowochyattong - I eat
pot'a kwedittöng - I hear
Passive k'ūdi VERB-ttūk1 ubōtta pot'yat k'ūdi p'yowottūk - an apple becomes eaten by me
tallūda k'ūdi kwettūk - a song becomes heard
Causative -k'ye1
pot'ak' myatto ubōtta p'yowochyak'yang - I make him eat an apple
pot'a myatto kwedik'yeng - I make him hear
Passive-Causative k'ūdi VERB-ttūkk'ye1
k'ūdi VERB-ttūkk'ya1

1The last syllable of the verb is deleted before this suffix is added.<p> Simply put, the unmarked voice is used in transtitive sentences and the active voice in intransitive, but see the sections Transitive sentences and Intransitive sentences for more details.<p> The passive voice has similar uses as in English. It shifts focus from the agent to the patient, and it is often used for indicating that someone did something to the patient without asking for consent, or even outright against the patient's will, or that the patient succumbed to a situation that was not brought on by any sentient being. Another use for the passive is for turning a transitive verb into an intransitive while demoting the agent. For example negefa is an inherently transitive verb which means "break". Using the passive voice is the only way to make it an intransitive verb with the meaning that something gets broken, because using the active voice would have the meaning that someone breaks something (without telling what that "something" is).<p> The causative voice is used for marking that someone makes, lets or somehow causes someone else to do something. It can also be used for turning an agent-less verb into one that takes an agent as its argument. For example the word satto means burn, as in "the wood is burning". To express that someone burns something, the causative voice would be used. This verb can be used either intransitively, i.e. without a patient, or transitively.<p> The passive-causative is simply a combination of the passive and causative voices.

Tense and aspect

Proto-Kunnu-lūjungo has arguably four basic tenses (past, present, frequentative and habitual); and three tenses (remote past, future, remote future) and two aspects (progressive and perfect) that are expressed by periphrastic or other means, plus several combinations of the aforementioned.<p> Stative verbs can not take the habitual tense, or perfect or progressive aspects.<p> In the following table, where all allowed combinations of tenses and aspects are displayed, the frequentative has been grouped together with the aspects for ease of representation. The A marks the place for the active voice suffix, C for the causative suffix, and the M for mood suffixes, if there are any. The passive voice is rather complicated, so see Proto-Kunnu-lūjungo conjugation tables for how it is expressed together with any tense or aspect.

Tense Aspect Morphology Example
Remote Past - -A/C-oCo1-M
kallololo - dug a long time ago
kwedödö - heard a long time ago
Past - -A/C-o-M
kallolo - dug
kwedö - heard
Present - -A/C-ng-M kallorwang - digs
kweding - hears
Future - k'ūdi-A-M VERB-C k'ūdi kallorwa - will dig
k'ūdi kwedi - will hear
Remote Future - k'ūdik'ūdi-A-M VERB-C k'ūdik'ūdi kallorwa - will dig in the far future
k'ūdik'ūdi kwedi - will hear in the far future
Habitual - -A/C-∅-M kallorwa - usually digs
kwedi - usually hears
Remote Past Progressive ut-A-oCo1-M VERB-C-beppi2
ut-A-oCo1-M VERB-C-bappu2
udodo kallobappu - was digging a long time ago
udodo kwebeppi - was hearing a long time ago
Past Progressive ut-A-o-M VERB-C-beppi2
ut-A-o-M VERB-C-bappu2
udo kallobappu - was digging
udo kwebeppi - was hearing
Present Progressive ut-A-M VERB-C-beppi2
ut-A-M VERB-C-bappu2
ut kallobappu - is digging
ut kwebeppi - is hearing
Future Progressive k'ūdi-A-M VERB-C-beppi2
k'ūdi-A-M VERB-C-bappu2
k'ūdi kallobappu - will be digging
k'ūdi kwebeppi - will be hearing
Remote Future Progressive k'ūdik'ūdi-A-M VERB-C-beppi2
k'ūdik'ūdi-A-M VERB-C-bappu2
k'ūdik'ūdi kallobappu - will be digging in the far future
k'ūdik'ūdi kwebeppi - will be hearing in the far future
Remote Past Perfect ut-A-oCo1-M VERB-C-ttūk2 udodo kallottūk - had dug a long time ago
udodo kwettūk - had heard long ago
Past Perfect ut-A-o-M VERB-C-ttūk2 udo kallottūk - had sut
udo kwettūk - had heard
Present Perfect ut-A-(o)ng-M VERB-C-ttūk2 udong kallottūk - have dug
udong kwettūk - have heard
Future Perfect k'ūdi-A-ng-M VERB-C-ttūk2 k'ūding kallottūk - will have dug
k'ūding kwettūk - will have heard
Remote Future Perfect k'ūdik'ūdi-A-ng-M VERB-C-ttūk2 k'ūdik'ūding kallottūk - will have dug in the far future
k'ūdik'ūding kwettūk - will have heard in the far future
Habitual Perfect ut-A-M VERB-C-ttūk2 ut kallottūk - have/had usually dug
ut kwettūk - have/had usually heard
Remote Past Frequentative -A/C-dödö-M
kallorwadodo - dug around long ago
kwedidödö - repeatedly heard things long ago
Past Frequentative -A/C--M
kallorwado - dug around
kwedidö - repeatedly heard things
Present Frequentative -A/C-ding-M
kallorwadung - dig around
kwediding - repeatedly hear things
Future Frequentative k'ūdi-A-M VERB-C-di
k'ūdi-A-M VERB-C-du
k'ūdi kallorwadu - will dig around
k'ūdi kwedidi - will hear things repeatedly
Remote Future Frequentative k'ūdik'ūdi-A-M VERB-C-di
k'ūdik'ūdi-A-M VERB-C-du
k'ūdik'ūdi kallorwadu - will dig around in the far future
k'ūdik'ūdi kwedidi - will hear things repeatedly in the far future
Habitual Frequentative -A/C-di-M
kallorwadu - usually digs around
kwedidi - usually hears things repeatedly
Remote Past Progressive-Frequentative ut-A-oCo1-M VERB-C-dibeppi
ut-A-oCo1-M VERB-C-dubappu
udodo kallorwadubappu - was digging around long ago
udodo kwedidibeppi - was repeatedly hearing things long ago
Past Progressive-Frequentative ut-A-o-M VERB-C-dibeppi
ut-A-o-M VERB-C-dubappu
udo kallorwadubappu - was digging around
udo kwedidibeppi - was repeatedly hearing things
Present Progressive-Frequentative ut-A-M VERB-C-dibeppi
ut-A-M VERB-C-dubappu
ut kallorwadubappu - is digging around
ut kwedidibeppi - is repeatedly hearing things
Future Progressive-Frequentative k'ūdi-A-M VERB-C-dibeppi
k'ūdi-A-M VERB-C-dubappu
k'ūdi kallorwadubappu - will be digging around
k'ūdi kwedidibeppi - will be hearing things repeatedly
Remote Future Progressive-Frequentative k'ūdik'ūdi-A-M VERB-C-dibeppi
k'ūdik'ūdi-A-M VERB-C-dubappu
k'ūdik'ūdi kallorwadubappu - will be digging around in the far future
k'ūdik'ūdi kwedidibeppi - will be hearing things repeatedly in the future
Remote Past Perfect-Frequentative ut-A-oCo1-M VERB-C-dittūk
ut-A-oCo1-M VERB-C-duttūk
udodo kallorwaduttūk - has dug around long ago
udodo kwedidittūk - has heard things repeatedly long ago
Past Perfect-Frequentative ut-A-o-M VERB-C-dittūk
ut-A-o-M VERB-C-duttūk
udo kallorwaduttūk - has dug around
udo kwedidittūk - has heard things repeatedly
Present Perfect-Frequentative ut-A-(o)ng-M VERB-C-dittūk
ut-A-(o)ng-M VERB-C-duttūk
udong kallorwaduttūk - have dug around
udong kwedidittūk - have heard things repeatedly
Future Perfect-Frequentative k'ūdi-A-M VERB-C-dittūk
k'ūdi-A-M VERB-C-duttūk
k'ūdi kallorwaduttūk - will have dug around
k'ūdi kwedidittūk - will have heard things repeatedly
Remote Future Perfect-Frequentative k'ūdik'ūdi-A-M VERB-C-dittūk
k'ūdik'ūdi-A-M VERB-C-duttūk
k'ūdik'ūdi kallorwaduttūk - will have dug around in the far future
k'ūdik'ūdi kwedidittūk - will have heard things repeatedly in the far future
Habitual Perfect-Frequentative ut-A-M VERB-C-dittūk
ut-A-M VERB-C-duttūk
ut kallorwaduttūk - have/had usually dug around
ut kwedidittūk - have/had usually heard things repeatedly

1The C stands for a consonant that is the same as the previous consonant in the word.
2The previous syllable is deleted before this suffix is added, unless the previous syllable consists of a monosyllabic suffix.<p> The habitual, which is used for expressing that someone does something on regular basis, can't be used together with any tense. It is usually understood to mean present tense, but if need be, one can specify past meaning with the adverb öttöt (before), and future meaning with the adverb allogau (intends to).<p> The frequentative can have the meaning of just doing something repeatedly, or doing something repeatedly and in several locations. For example myosyak'yadung can either mean "to jump around", or "to jump up and down at the same spot".

Mood Morphology Examples
Conditional -(o)ppo
kallorwappo - would dig
kwedippö - would hear
Energetic -(s)sa
kallorwangsa - does dig too!
kwedingse - does hear too!
Hortative -wat
kallorwat - let's dig
kwetwet - let's hear
Imperative deletion of last syllable kallo - dig!
kwe - hear!
Optative -gaut
kallorwagaut - may he/she dig
kwedigit - may he/she hear
Volitive -auk
kallolauk - let him/her dig then
kwedik - let it be heard then
Conditional-Energetic -(o)ppossa
kallorwappossa - I wish someone would dig
kwedippösse - I wish someone would hear
Hortative-Energetic -watsa
kallorwatsa - let's dig!
kwetwetse - let's hear!
Imperative-Energetic deletion of last syllable + (s)sa
deletion of last syllable + (s)se
kallossa - you dig, allright?
kwesse - would you hear?
Optative-Energetic -gautsa
kallorwagautsa - may he/she dig!
kwedigitse - may he/she hear!

The conditional is used for marking the "then" part of an "if...then" statement. But sometimes it is used on both the "if" and the "then" part simultaneously. The conditional can only be used together with the simple past, past frequentative and habitual tenses. Any aspect together with past tense can be used however.<p> The energetic mood is used when expressing what oneself actually believes to be the case, despite of what anyone else thinks. It can be used together with any tense and aspect.<p> The hortative denotes the meaning of "let's". No tense marking is used when the hortative mood is used, except for that the frequentative can be used together with it. No aspects can be used with it. It goes together with any voice except for passive-causative.<p> The imperative mood is used for making commands. It is not used together with any particular voice, tense or aspect, except that it can be used with the frequentative, in which case the present frequentative suffix is added after the last syllable of the verb has been deleted. The adressee, which is optional, can be put before the verb in the vocative case.<p> The optative can be used for expressing a wish in one of these cases:

  1. The wish is not up to any person to make come true, for example "may it not rain tomorrow".
  2. The wish is directed at someone who is not present and contactable at the time being, for example "may the king not raise the taxes again" said by someone who has never met, and probably never will meet, the king.
  3. The wish is dependent on a large group of people, like the society or mankind. As an example: "let's all work together to make the world a better place to live".

The optative can only be used together with the present simple, present frequentative and habitual tenses. Any aspect together with present tense is also allowed.<p> The volitive mood has two similar uses. One is used to express that one doesn't approve of, or like, the state of affairs, but reluctantly accepts it because nothing else can be done. The other use expresses that one doesn't really wish for something to happen, but lets it happen anyway because one can't be bothered to do something about it. This mood can only be used together with the present simple, present frequentative and habitual tenses. Any aspect, except for perfect, can be used together with the present tense.<p> The combination of the conditional and energetic moods has two different uses. One means that one wishes current things to be in a certain way instead of how they are now. The other use means that one wishes for something to happen; either wishing it very intently, or being hopeful or optimistic about it happening. This mood can be used with the same tenses and aspects as the simple conditional.<p> Combining the hortative mood with the energetic adds a persuasive tone to the proposal made. It can be used together with the same tenses and aspects as the simple hortative.<p> Using the combination of imperative and energetic is paradoxically more polite than using the imperative alone. In this case, the energetic mood makes the statement more of a suggestion than a command. The tenses it can used together with are the same as for the simple imperative.<p> Together with the optative, the energetic has simply a more intensifying meaning. This can be used with the same tenses and aspects as the simple optative.



In action nominal constructions, when the active form of any of the infinitives is used, any agent argument of that infinitive takes the genitive case and any patient argument gets either the genitive or the nominative-absolutive case (except for the deverbal noun where both arguments always get the genitive). With the passive forms of an infinitive, the patient gets the genitive case and the agent ablative case (including the deverbal noun).<p> In other kinds of constructions, the object of an infinitive gets nominative-absolutive case. For the simple infinitives, the object is placed before the finite verb. The deverbal nouns have other requirements though, see Deverbal Nouns for the details.

Type of infinitive Morphology Example
Active Infinitive -∅ p'yowochya - to eat
kwedi - to hear
Passive Infinitive k'ūdi VERB-ūk'p'o
k'ūdi VERB-ūk'p'ö
p'yowochūk'p'o k'ūbössen - to become eaten
kwedūk'p'ö k'ūbössen - to become heard
Active Inessive Infinitive -öppi
p'yowochoppu - when eating
kwedöppi - when hearing
Passive Inessive Infinitive -ūk'p'o k'ūdöppi
-ūk'p'ö k'ūdöppi
p'yowochūk'p'o k'ūdöppi - when becoming eaten
kwedūk'p'ö k'ūdöppi - when becoming heard
Active Instructive Infinitive -ōt
p'yowochōt - by eating
kwetwüt - by hearing
Passive Instructive Infinitive -ūk'p'o k'ūtwüt
-ūk'p'ö k'ūtwüt
p'yowochūk'p'o k'ūtwüt - by becoming eaten
kwedūk'p'ö k'ūtwüt - by becoming heard
Active Adverb Infinitive -ba1-C
p'yowobappu - in the middle of eating
kwebeppi - in the middle of hearing
Passive Adverb Infinitive -būk'p'o1 k'ūbe-C
-būk'p'ö1 k'ūbe-C
p'yowobūk'p'o k'ūdibeppi - in the middle of getting eaten
kwebūk'p'ö k'ūdibeppi - in the middle of getting heard
Active Deverbal Noun -bossan1
p'yowobossan - eating
kwebössen - hearing
Passive Deverbal Noun -ūk'p'o k'ūbössen
-ūk'p'ö k'ūbössen
p'yowochūk'p'o k'ūbössen - getting eaten
kwedūk'p'ö k'ūbössen - getting heard

1The last syllable from the verb stem is deleted before this suffix is added.

Simple Infinitives

The simple infinitive is used as an oblique of another verb. For example:

Pot'-ak' k'yamk'ottōtk'-a madūkka-∅-ng t'yamchya-∅
I want to see a shooting star.
Inessive Infinitives

The inessive infinitive has the meaning of "when someone is doing something"; it is used as a time reference.

Pot'ya-t pōkp'ya-ppu küllöd-öppi p'adab-a sai-nnat opkōya-tt-o
1SG-GEN forest-INE walk-ACT.INE.INF lightning-NA tree-ILL strike-ACT-PAST
When I was walking in the forest, lightning struck a tree.
Instructive Infinitives

The instructive infinitive describes in what manner something happens. For example:

Myod-a pingketti-dö p'utsūg-ōt pöttü-tt-ö
He went to the market by rowing.
Adverb Infinitives

The adverb infinitive requires a case (marked with C in the table). It has different meanings depending on the case used. The following table contains all cases that can be combined with the adverb infinitive.

Case Example
Abessive kallobakku - without digging
Exessive kallobatk'a - from having been digging
Inessive kallobappu - in the middle of digging
Instrumental kallobōp' - by digging
Translative kallobak'p'o - to go digging

The exessive and translative are used for expressing that someone goes from one activity to another, with the exessive corresponding to the from part, and the translative to the to part. For example:

Pot'-a opk'ū-ba-tk'a p'ōnoppu-ba-nnat pöttü-tt-ö
I went from sitting to standing.

The difference between the inessive infinitive and the inessive adverb infinitive is that the inessive infinitive can be used for comparing two situations in time: "when doing X, Y happened"; while the inessive adverb infinitive can't be used that way. A single verb in the inessive adverb infinitive form can be used as an answer to the question where someone is. For example:<p> -Peppü op'a uttong? (Where is dad?)
-Kadappappu. (Out fishing.)<p> The inessive adverb infinitive is also the same as the progressive aspect.

Deverbal Nouns

This form derives the name of the act of doing something. The difference between deverbal nouns and the simple infinitives is that the simple infinitives are used as objects while deverbal nouns are used as subjects. Deverbal nouns function just like normal nouns and can therefore take any case, or even the plural suffix when referring to several instances of some act. If the deverbal noun has an object argument, it gets the genitive case. So for example "the eating of food" would be nūjugat p'yowobossan.

Participle Morphology Example
Active Past Participle -ttūk1 p'yowottūk sutsoga - boy who has eaten
kwettūk k'wik'wö - girl who has heard
Passive Past Participle -k'p'o k'ūttūk
-k'p'ö k'ūttūk
p'yowochyak'p'o k'ūttūk nūjuga - food that is eaten
kwedik'p'ö k'ūttūk hūjungū - gossip that is heard
Active Present Participle -lla1
p'yowolla sutsoga - boy who is eating
kwelle k'wik'wö - girl who is hearing
Passive Present Participle -k'p'o k'ūlle
-k'p'ö k'ūlle
p'yowochyak'p'o k'ūlle nūjuga - food that is being eaten
kwedik'p'ö k'ūlle hūjungū - gossip that is being heard
Active Agent Participle
Passive Agent Participle -ba1
sutsogat p'yowoba nūjuga - food eaten by the boy
k'wik'wöt kwebe hūjungū - gossip heard by the girl

1The last syllable from the verb stem is deleted before this suffix is added.<p> When a verb is used for describing a noun the way adjectives are used, the verb takes a participle form. There are only two tenses, past and present. There are active participles, describing an agent, and passive participles, describing a patient. Causative voice can also be used. In that case, the causative suffix is added before the participle suffix as follows:

K'yapya ōppok'yob-ak' t'ūgū-k'ye-lle ud-∅-ong
this show-ERG sleep-CAUS-ACT.PRES.PTC is-UNM-PRES
This show is sleep-inducing.

Both active participles can take an object, and the passive present and agent participles a subject, all of which are marked with the genitive case. The subject or object is placed right before the participle.<p> The agent participle is similar to the passive past participle, but the difference is that the past passive participle doesn't take a subject. If a noun (or pronoun) with genitive case is placed before the passive past participle, it means that the object described by the participle belongs to the person or thing marked by the genitive case. While for the agent participle, the genitive marks who the action has been done by.<p> The noun following a participle can have any case. If a core case is used, which one is used is governed by the finite verb's voice. The participle itself can be used as the object of the copula, as in the above example sentence. The copula will have the unmarked voice and the subject ergative case, but no nominative-absolutive case will be present.



The singular form of nouns is unmarked, while the plural is marked with the suffix -k. If the noun ends with a consonant, a vowel, usually ō or wü (depending on vowel harmony), is inserted before the -k suffix. There are many irregular plurals though, that will use o, ö or wū as the vowel instead. In San words, final -san becomes -sōk and -sen becomes -swük.


The final -n is deleted from San words before the case suffix is added.

Case Suffix Examples
Core cases
Ergative -ak'
kutsongak' - dog-ERG
keppek' - cat-ERG
Nominative-Absolutive -a
kutsonga - dog-NA
keppe - cat-NA
Adpositional cases
Distributive -k'illet
syazolyak'ullat - every day
keppik'illet - each cat separately
Distributive-Temporal -oppot
syazolyoppot - at daytime
Essive -tta
kutsongatta - as a dog
keppitte - as a cat
Genitive -t kutsongat - dog's
keppit - cat's
Instrumental -ōp'
kutsongōp' - with a dog
kepwüp' - with a cat
Prolative -kp'ō
pōngokp'ō - by sea
kikkukp'wü - by rooftop
Locational cases
Ablative -(ō)t'k'ya
kutsongat'k'ya - from the dog
keppit'k'ya - from the cat
Elative -pk'a
kutsongapk'a - from the inside of the dog
keppipk'e - from the inside of the cat
Exessive -tk'a
kutsongatk'a - (turn) from a dog (into something else)
keppitk'e - (turn) from a cat (into something else)
Adessive -di
pōngodu - by the sea
kikkudi - on the roof
Inessive -ppi
pōngoppu - in the sea
kikkuppi - in the roof
Allative -
pōngodo - to the sea
kikkudö - to the roof
Illative -(nn)at
pōngonnat - into the sea
kikkunnet - into the roof
Translative -k'p'o
kutsongak'p'o - (turn) into a dog
keppik'p'ö - (turn) into a cat
Comitative -ttō
kutsongattō - (together) with his/her dog
keppitwü - (together) with his/her cat
Abessive -kki
kutsongakku - without a dog
keppikki - without a cat
Vocative -∅ kutsonga - hey you dog!
keppi - hey you cat!
Adpositional cases

If the distributive case is used together with a word that stands for some kind of time period, it has the meaning that something is done during each of those periods. If used with any other kind of noun, it has the meaning of each of those separately. For example the sentence k'yapya k'yowa k'ōm sangok'ullat means "do this assignment in pairs", where the word for pair (sango) carries the distributive case. The distributive case can not be used with pronouns.<p> The distributive-temporal case is only used together with words relating to time. It has the meaning that something is done during that time, but unlike the simple distributive case it doesn't necessarily mean that it is done during every such time period.<p> The essive case has the meaning of as or if. For example kyot'pyatta syazolyatta sidöding - during a cold day one freezes, or nogapwatta ōno k'yowopk'yudappo - as a rich man I wouldn't do work.<p> The genitive case is used for marking possession (with the posessive preceding the head noun), as well as for marking the agent in passive sentences. If the genitive case is used on a word that ends with a consonant, a vowel is inserted before the suffix. This is the same vowel as the one used in the plural form.<p> The instrumental tells that something is used as a tool. It can't be used with personal pronouns or animate nouns. If need be, the pronoun or animate noun can be given the nominative-accusative case, followed by the word küwikkōt (use-INSTR.INF).<p> The prolative tells "by which medium or route". For example rōtta hugokp'ō kūt'kōnang - the boat travels by river. It can't be used with pronouns or animate nouns.

Locational cases

The ablative has the meaning of "from the vicinity or topside of something". The elative on the other hand means "from the inside of something". The elative has two other uses as well. One is, when used on a time noun, it means "from that time onwards". The other is for expressing what someone feels; the person who is feeling gets the elative case.<p> The adessive has the meaning of "by, near or on top of something". The inessive means "inside something". Both the adessive and inessive can be used together with a time noun to indicate when something happened or will happen. The difference is that the adessive is used when the action stretches out during the whole time period, while the inessive is used about things that happened sometime during that time period.<p> The allative has the meaning of "to the vicinity or topside of something", while the illative has the meaning "to the inside of something". The illative can also be used with a time noun to indicate "until a certain time".<p> The "inside" meaning of the internal locatives (elative, inessive and illative) is also applied to objects that somehow cover something else (even if only partially). For example, when describing someone sitting on a chair, one of the internal locatives would be used because a chair has a back support, so the person sitting in it would have his or her back covered. A stool on the other hand does not have any part that covers a person, so one of the external locatives (ablative, adessive or allative) would be used. The external locatives are also used when describing possession of, or transaction of, items between people.<p> The exessive and translative cases describe either that something turns into something else, or that something changes from one state into another. The exessive is the source and the translative is the result. The exessive can also be used to descibe what something is made of.

Other cases

The abessive case has the meaning of "without". It can't be used with personal pronouns or nouns standing for humanoid beings. Instead the preposition ot'pat is used, followed by the given noun or pronoun in essive case.<p> The vocative case is used when addressing someone by their name or title, and also when calling someone a rude word. The word with the vocative case can be placed either at the beginning or end of the sentence.


Personal Pronouns

Proto-Kunnu-lūjungo has a three-way distinction of person in its personal pronouns, but no gender distinction.

1st person 2nd person 3rd person Interrogative
Singular pot'ya


In the daughter languages of Proto-Kunnu-lūjungo the second person pronouns are avoided for politeness, and instead the addressee's name or title is used. In Proto-Kunnu-lūjungo, at least the singular second person pronoun was avoided, but it is unclear if it was because of politeness reasons or because it was so similar to the singular first person pronoun. If the plural second person pronoun was also avoided is unknown.

Demonstrative Pronouns

1st person 2nd person 3rd person Interrogative Interrogative dual
Singular k'yapya
Plural t'yapya
which ones

The demonstrative pronouns refer to inanimate things and non-humanoid beings, except for the singular interrogative dual which can also be used about humanoids. The demonstrative pronouns can also be used as demonstrative determiners. The interrogative dual has the meaning of "which one (of two alternative)". The plural form is used when referring to two groups of things.

Relative Pronouns

There are two relative pronouns: huga, which refers to the preceding word (or noun preceding numeral); and pokya which refers to the preceding clause or sentence. If a relative pronouns is used without the thing it refers to having been explicitly mentioned, then huga will be used if the implicit thing is animate, and pokya if it is inanimate. For example:

Myat-ōt op'-a atk'wa-tto-∅, myad-ak' pog-a syuk'yu-∅-∅
3SG-GEN father-NOMABS give-ACT-HAB 3SG-ERG what-NOMABS ask.for-UNM-HAB
Her father gives her what she asks for.

The relative pronoun gets the same number as the thing it refers to, and whichever case is required in the position the relative pronoun appears in. Unless the relative pronoun appears without something it refers to, as in the above example, it is moved to the beginning of the relative clause.

Reciprocal Pronoun

The reciprocal pronoun is k'utsossan (k'utsossa in nominative-absolutive case and k'utsossōt in genitive). Below are examples of the word in both cases.

M-ak' k'utsoss-a nagapk'wa-∅-ng
3PL-ERG each.other-NA love-UNM-PRES
They love each other.
M-ak' k'utsoss-ōt mofūp-ōk-a tōnogakk-∅-o
3PL-ERG each.other-GEN hair-PL-NA cut-UNM-PAST
They cut each other's hair.

Reflexive Pronoun

The reflexive pronoun is okp'ō.

Pot'-ak' okp'-a sōpk'-∅-o
1SG-ERG self-NA wash-UNM-PAST
I washed myself.

The reflexive pronoun can also be used for emphasis, in which case it is placed after the verb.

Pot'-ak' p'-a k'ōmchya-∅-ng okp'ō
1SG-ERG it-NA do-UNM-PRES self
I'll do it myself!

Quantifier Pronouns

Inclusive Exclusive Universal Negative
Singular humanoid kūga k'annatp'a
ōno kūkyut
no one
Plural humanoid kōkkya k'annatp'a
ōno kōkkyut
no one
Dual kūp'so k'annatp'a
either one
either one
ōno kūp'sokyut
Singular non-humanoid pokya k'annatp'a
ōno pokyut
Plural non-humanoid pokkya k'annatp'a
ōno pokkyut

The singular non-humanoids can also be used as determiners. The plural non-humanoids can only be used as determiners. See also Quantifier adverbs for more quantifiers.


San adjectives declinate slightly differently than other adjectives, as the final -an or -en is deleted from San adjectives before comparison suffixes are added. The following table displays both types of declination.

Comparison Suffix Example
San adjectives
Positive -∅ sūttallossan - red
negettüzessen - broken
Comparative -ōp'so
sūttallossōp'so - redder
negettüzesswüp'sö - more broken
Superlative -ot
sūttallossot - reddest
negettüzessöt - most broken
Other adjectives
Positive -∅ mochap - slow
kūbi - odd
Comparative -p'so1
mochap'so - slower
kūbip'sö - odder
Superlative -tsot1
mochatsot - slowest
kūbitsöt - oddest

1If the adjective ends with p, the p is deleted before this suffix is added. (There are only front vowel adjectives that end with p.)


Adverbs related to pronouns

These adverbs are related to the pronouns in that there's a person distinction among them as well as interrogative forms (allthough some of them distinguish fewer than three persons), and that some of them are somehow derived from the pronouns (cf for example the locational adverbs with the demonstrative pronouns).

1st person 2nd person 3rd person Interrogative
Locational k'ue-
Temporal t'yok
Manner t'yazot
this way
that way
Reason p'ok'p'o

The locational adverbs are obligatorily combined with a locational case suffix.

Quantifier adverbs
Inclusive Exclusive Universal Negative
Locative poppu k'annatp'a
ōno popkyut
Temporal podutsat k'annatp'a
all the time
ōno kupkyut
Manner pokkōt k'annatp'a
any way
huga k'assōp'
every way
ōno pokkōtkyut
no way


There are several postposition, a few ambipositions (adpositions that can appear either before or after the noun it modifies) and even fewer prepositions in Proto-Kunnu-lūjungo. The words that are solely postpositions require the preceding noun to have genitive case. The tables in the following sections use the word k'adu (house) (and in some cases op'ya (father)) as an example together with the adpositions.


Motion to Being at a location Motion away Motion across
k'adut adado
under the house
k'adut adadu
under the house
k'adut adat'k'ya
from underneath the house
k'adut adakp'ō
underneath the house
k'adut kōpkodo
to the middle of the house
k'adut kōpkodu
in the middle of the house
k'adut kōpkot'k'ya
from the middle of the house
k'adut kōpkokp'ō
across the middle of the house
k'adut k'agado
behind the house
k'adut k'agadu
behind the house
k'adut k'agat'k'ya
from behind the house
k'adut k'agakp'ō
across the back of the house
k'adut ōkkūdo
in front of the house
k'adut ōkkūdu
in front of the house
k'adut ōkkūt'k'ya
from front of the house
k'adut ōkkūkp'ō
across the front of the house
k'adut p'ollūdo
beside the house
k'adut p'ollūdu
beside the house
from beside the house
k'adut p'ollūkp'ō
past the side of the house
k'adut p'op'yannat
into the house
k'adut p'op'yappu
inside the house
k'adut p'op'yapk'a
from the inside of the house
(use tyassokp'ō instead, see the list further down the section)
k'adut rofōngōdo
beside the house
k'adut rofōngōdu
beside the house
k'adut rofōngōt'k'ya
from beside the house
op'yat tūjudo
to father's home/vicinity
op'yat tūjudu
at father's home/vicinity
op'yat tūjut'k'ya
from father's home/vicinity
k'adut tyannodo
near the house
near the house
k'adut tyannot'k'ya
from near the house / something passes near the house
k'adut yotyado
on top of the house / above the house
k'adut yotyadu
on top of the house / above the house
k'adut yotyat'k'ya
from the top of the house / from above the house
k'adut yotyakp'ō
over the house

The difference between p'ollū- and rofōngō- could be said to be that p'ollū- denotes the area next to something, so for example sa ut k'ūdit p'ollūdu (the tree is beside the house) could be said even if there is some third object between the house and the tree, making it impossible to see the house from where the tree is. Though p'ollū- and rofōngō- are synonymous to most speakers.<p> The tūju- postpositions can only be used in reference of an animate being. They can either have the meaning of near that person, or that person's home (whether or not he is home).<p> The tyanno- postpositions can also be used as adverbs.<p> The following invariant postpositions also exist:

  • hyat'kodu - after (locational)
  • hyat'koppu - after (temporal)
  • ippöpyette - in someone's place
  • killūkki - via
  • k'agofa - for someone's sake; because of
  • rangk'ōt1 - for a purpose
  • sūjudopk'a - on behalf of somebody
  • tyassokp'ō - through
  • unnokp'ō - past (locational)
  • yop'syono - around (only one lap)

1This postposition requires the noun to have the exessive case instead of genitive.


The following table shows all ambipositions as well as the cases the call for in the nouns they modify.

Ambiposition Case of noun
kumk'o - toward Allative
kutk'yunga - against Essive
rapk'ōt - against Any external locative
rapk'wat - toward; versus Allative
sokkot - along Any external locative

The difference between kumk'o and rapk'wat is that rapk'wat is only used about something moving towards a person. Kumk'o is used either about someone or something moving towards some inanimate object or place, about someone moving with malicious intent toward some person, or about something capable of causing injury moving towards a person. Rapk'wat can not have any of these meanings. Rapk'wat is usually used about a person moving toward someone else to greet that person, or for describing who or what one has met during one's way. With these meanings, rapk'wat can also be used as an adverb modifying an inessive infinitive. Paradoxically, one other use for rapk'wat is like the word "versus" in a battle (possibly because a sports battle is entered with both parties' consent, while battles in war are meant to be fought with a code of honour).<p> The difference between kutk'yunga and rapk'ōt is that rapk'ōt is used for describing the position of some object, usually together with the verbs with a meaning similar to "lean". Kutk'yunga on the other is used about someone or something being against someone else's order or will.


Preposition Case of noun
ot'pat - without Essive
öttöt - before Essive or illative
yop'syono - around (several laps) Adessive

Ot'pat can only be used together with pronouns or nouns standing for humanoid beings.<p> Öttöt, (which can also be used as an adverb,) calls for the illative case on time nouns, and otherwise essive. See examples below.

Pot'-a mōnyatt-o öttöt allūngotkut-t'uptūgu-nnat
1SG-NOMABS wake.up-PAST before sun-rise-ILL
I woke up before sunrise.
P'ot'-a k'ūdi-tt-o kukko-nnat öttöt pot'ya-tk'a
2SG-NOMABS come-ACT-PAST home-ILL before 1SG-ESS
You came home before me.


Proto-Kunnu-lūjungo has a decimal system. The numbers 11-19 are expressed by adding the suffix -k'utsossan to one of the numbers 1-9. Higher numbers are expressed simply by placing the name of one of the numbers 2-9 before the name of one of the numbers 10, 100, 1000 or 10 000. For example, 20 is called kak'p'o-kwibössen and 317 is called kut'pō-p'akka-kwibössen-p'ōnokp'ōpyat.

Number Cardinal Numeral Ordinal Numeral Distributive
1 yok'p'o ōtp'obuzassan yok'p'ok'ullat
2 kak'p'o k'utsossan kak'p'ok'ullat
3 kut'pō kut'pap kut'pōk'ullat
4 t'ōt'hya t'ōt'hyap t'ōt'hyak'ullat
5 ryōppo ryōppap ryōppok'ullat
6 kaippo kaippap kaippok'ullat
7 p'ōnokp'ōpyat p'ōnokp'ōpyap p'ōnokp'ōpyatk'ullat
8 kamchōk'p'at kamchōk'p'ap kamchōk'p'atk'ullat
9 yomchōk'p'yat yomchōk'p'yap yomchōk'p'yatk'ullat
10 kwibössen1 kwibössep kwibössek'ullat
100 p'akka p'akkap p'akkak'ullat
1000 k'ūnnak k'ūnnap k'ūnnakk'ullat
10 000
Interrogative putk'a(gu) puttōp(ku) puttok'ullat(ku)

1The -ssen suffix is deleted when a numeral classifier is added.<p> The cardinal numerals are like one, two, three, while the ordinal numerals are like first, second, third. The distributive numerals are used for expressing how many parts something should be divided into. These are indeed the same as the cardinal numbers with the distributive case. The interrogative number is used when asking questions that include "how many...", and also as a relative pronoun. Interrogative numerals are always used with the interrogative clitic -ku, which is placed after any numeral classifier.

Numeral Classifiers

When a numeral is used referring to a certain number of things, the numeral must be accompanied by a classifier suffix. Different suffixes are used depending on what is counted. So for example two carrots would be called kak'p'ohaingo sungkitti while two rocks would be called kak'p'opwomkyonya kollo (sungkitti meaning carrot and kollo rock).<p> The following table lists all classifiers. Since there are no neutral vowel numerals, the suffixes are presented with the one that goes with back vowel words first, and the one going with front vowel words second.

Suffix Short-hand name Use
Abstract Abstract things; also used when one doesn't know what other classifier to use
Age Years of age of people and things
Animals Animals that don't fall under any of the other categories
Birds Birds and bats
-syūdu Bottles Bottles and beverages stored in bottles
Bugs Small animals such as insects, worms and amphibians
Buildings Buildings
Bundles Bundles and bunches of things
Cattle Livestock (excluding poultry)
Children Children of humanoid creatures
Clothes Clothes worn on the body, including shawls and scarfs but excluding other accessories
-k2 Collective Groups or things that consist of several parts
Containers Containers other than bottles
Dogs Dogs and wolves
Eggs Eggs, excluding roe and spawn
Fish Caught fish
Flat-Hard Flat objects made of unflexible material
Flat-Soft Flat objects made of flexible material, like paper or fabric
-yup'sū Fruit Fruit, berries, nuts and vegetables other than root vegetables
Layers Floors and layers
Machine Machines and vehicles
Marine Sea creatures other than fish that has been caught
Multiplicative Number of times something is done
Oblong Long and narrow objects
Pairs Pairs of things, and objects that consist of two parts
-kyu People (standard) Humanoid creatures other than children
-syu People (dialectal) Humanoid creatures other than children
Root vegetables Root vegetables and bulbs
Round Small round objects

Small Small items
Strings Strings, threads, ropes, etc.
Trees Trees, excluding bushes

1The final consonant is deleted from p'ōnokp'ōpyat, kamchōk'p'at, yomchōk'p'yat and k'ūnnak when this suffix is added.
2The final consonant is deleted from p'ōnokp'ōpyat, kamchōk'p'at and yomchōk'p'yat when this suffix is added. Kwibössen becomes kwibössek and k'ūnnak becomes k'ūnnagōk.


Transitive sentences

In Proto-Kunnu-lūjungo transitive sentences are ergative while intransitive sentences are nominative. In transitive sentences, the subject takes ergative case and the object nominative-absolutive if the unmarked or causative voice is used.

Pot'-ak' ubōtt-a p'yowochya-∅-ng
1SG-ERG apple-NA eat-UNM-PRES
I eat an apple.

In causative sentences, the person who is caused to do something gets the allative case. This person goes between the subject and the direct object. The causer, causee and direct object are all optional, but at least one of the three must be in a given sentence.

Pot'-ak' myat-to tallūd-a kwe-k'ye-ng
I make him hear a song.

In passive sentences, the agent, which is optional, comes between the patient and verb. The patient gets absolutive case and the agent genitive.

Ubōtt-a pot'ya-t k'ūd-e p'yowo-ttūk
The apple got eaten by me.

Intransitive sentences

In intransitive sentences, any voice except for the unmarked voice can be used. The subject or object gets the absolutive-nominative case.

Pot'-a p'yowochya-tto-ng
I eat.

The same rules apply for the causative as in transitive sentences.

Pot'-a myat-to p'yowochya-k'ya-ng
I make him eat.

Interrogative sentences

Questions are made by either using a question word, which is moved to the beginning of the sentence, or by adding the interrogative suffix -gu to the word that is questioned. A word with the interrogative suffix is also moved to the beginning of the sentence.

Pog-a p'ot'-ak' p'wach-∅-o
what-NA you-ERG get-UNM-PAST
What did you get?
Ut-to-gu kyot'sōnya-ng p'ot'-a
PERF-ACT-Q bathe-PRES you-NA
Have you bathed?


Negation is done with the negative auxiliary verb ōno. The verb that is negated get the simple infinitive form and is placed directly after ōno, with ōno taking all the conjugation; unless there is need to use the habitual tense or perfect or progressive aspect, in which case the negated verb is conjugated normally and ōno is placed before that verb without any marking.<p> The ōno that precedes the negative pronouns is removed when these words are used in negative sentences.

Comparative constructions

To make comparative constructions involving a noun, such as "X is more Z than what Y is", Proto-Kunnu-lūjungo uses the form X-NOMABS Z-COMP kūjot Y-NOMABS. For example:

K'yapya k'ad-a oppu-p'so kūjot p'-a
this house-NOMABS big-COMP than that.3SG-NOMABS
This house is bigger than that one.

If it is a verb that is compared instead of an adjective, the following construction is used: X (object) Z öttöbüt kūjot Y (or X (object) öttöbüt Z kūjot Y). The cases of X and Y depend on the transitivity of the verb, and if Y is an agent or patient. See the following two sentences:

P'ot'-ak' p'ofōbōd-a p'yowochya-∅-∅ öttöbüt kūjot totk'-ak'
2SG-ERG seed-NOMABS eat-UNM-HAB more than bird-ERG
You eat more seeds than what birds do.
P'ot'-ak' p'ofōbōd-a p'yowochya-∅-∅ öttöbüt kūjot totk'ū-g-a
2SG-ERG seed-NOMABS eat-UNM-HAB more than bird-PL-NOMABS
You eat more seeds than you eat birds.

In the first sentence, the bird has ergative case, meaning that the bird is an agent. In the second sentence, the word for birds has the nominative-absolutive case, giving the meaning that the birds are a patient. If the sentence has no object, then both X and Y will have the nominative-absolutive case and the verb will have active voice. The Y argument will then be an agent. As an example:

P'ot'-a p'yowochya-tto-∅ öttöbüt kūjot totk'-a
2SG-NOMABS eat-ACT-HAB more than bird-NOMABS
You eat more than what birds do.

Purpose clauses

There are several ways in which purpose can be expressed in Proto-Kunnu-lūjungo. One way is to have the main event followed by the dependent event with the conjunction hukki between them.

Pot'-ak' kad-a p'ūjudakka-∅-ng hukki p'-a ōno-tt-o sodak'yotto-ppo
1SG-ERG fish-NOMABS salt-UNM-PRES so.that it-NOMABS not-ACT-PAST get.bad-COND
I salt the fish so that it will not get bad.

If the two verbs have the same agent, the dependent verb can be turned into a simple infinitive with translative case. If the main verb is a verb of movement (such as go, come, etc.), then the dependent verb may alternatively be realized as an adverb infinitive. Both ways are exemplified in the following two sentences:

Pot'-ak' nūjug-a up-pa-k'p'o pingketti-dö pött-ö
I went to the market to buy food.
Pot'-ak' nūjug-a upk'wa-∅-k'p'o pingketti-dö pött-ö
I went to the market to buy food.

Another way is to have a noun (or deverbal noun) followed by the postposition rangk'ōt.


To report what someone else has said, the construction X-ERG VERB-UNM (ökkü) QUOTE is used, where X is the source of information, VERB is a verb like say, tell, etc. (with tense, aspect and mood as appropriate), and QUOTE is an independent clause. If the report is in direct speech, the particle ökkü will be used. If the report is in indirect speech, ökkü is not used, and the deictic center in the quote is changed to that of the speaker.


Evidentiality can be expressed with a pronoun in the genitive case followed by one of three evidentiality verbs in the instructive infinitive form. The pronoun specifies according who, and the verb what kind of evidentiality. This construction precedes the main verb (or auxiliary + main verb construction).

Person Evidentiality type Morphology
1st Inferential pot'yat t'yamchyōt
2nd Inferential p'ot'yat t'yamchōt
3rd Inferential myatōt t'yamchōt
1st Reportative pot'yat kwetwüt
2nd Reportative p'ot'yat kwetwüt
3rd Reportative myatōt kwetwüt
1st Direct Knowledge pot'yat k'ofōk'ōt
2nd Direct Knowledge p'ot'yat k'ofōk'ōt
3rd Direct Knowledge myatōt k'ofōk'ōt
Impersonal Direct Knowledge k'ofōk'ōt

The inferential has the meaning of "seen by me/you/someone else" and reportative "according to what I/you/someone has heard". The direct knowledge evidential is used about any other evidence, including non-visual sensory. This evidential can also be used impersonally, which is marked by the absense of a pronoun. The impersonal direct knowledge can have the meaning "they say that..." without any clarifications of who "they" are, or it can have the meaning that something is supposed to be common knowledge, "anyone knows it". All second person evidentials are very seldomly used, and when they are, the pronoun is usually replaced by the name of the adressee in genitive case.


San words

Some adjectives and some nouns ends with the suffix -(s)san or -(s)sen. In adjectives it's usually present because of word derivation, while in nouns it usually just doesn't have any specific meaning. But it is obligatory nonetheless. In various kinds of suffixation, the San words usually inflect slightly differently than other words.


In endocentric compounds, the head is the last word of the compound. All but the last words in a compound have the following characteristics:

  • Verbs can only appear in non-final forms
  • Nouns sometimes carry a case that the final word in the compound calls for. But nouns in some compounds have the genitive case for no particular reason.
  • The suffix from San words is deleted.
  • Some words have a special compound form, see Derivation below.


Affix Meaning Example
Verb → verb
ado-- Underdo X anglofutsocha - estimate → ado-anglofutsocha - under-estimate
hütwūt-- Redoing an action kōngk'utsa - tell → hütwūt-kōngk'utsa - renarrate
p'ada-- Do X in secret kwettöttö - listen → p'ada-kwettöttö - eavesdrop
unno-- Miss doing X ap'sūja - shoot → unno-ap'sūja - shoot and miss
Diminishes the intensity of an action, or makes it momentane kakp'utsa - look → kakp'umk'wa - glance
millūgūttö - bark → millūgūmk'we - bark once
The opposite of the action p'ūjucha - let good things happen to others → p'ūjuchōsya - not let good things happen to others
tūjuk'ye - trust → tūjuk'wüsye - distrust
Verb → noun
-bu Place where X is done t'yamk'ya - show → t'yamk'yabu - stage
-būp1 A simple deverbal noun, usually used about actions that take some time to complete kōngk'utsa - tell → kōngk'ubūp - story
Device that performs X kunglakka - substitute (V.) → kunglagō - substitute (N.)
ködūttö - float → ködūkwü - floating device
Doer of X kyot'sōtto - bathe → kyot'sōha - bather
ihikködi - think → ihikköhe - thinker
Noun somehow related to the verb otto - sprout → ottofu - spore
mönekkue - throw → mönekköfu - dump
Tool used for doing X kūt'kōtto - traverse → kūt'kot - vehicle
p'utsek'ye - play → p'utsek'öt - (musical) instrument
Result of verb t'yamk'ya - show (V.) → t'yamk'ōt'pa - show (N.)
p'utsek'ye - play → p'utsek'wüt'pe - play (of an instrument)
Default verb to noun derivation ōtto - live → ōpya - life
kūjuttö - die → kūjupye - death
-tk'u1 Deverbal noun which implies of some kind of large occurrence ūpkutsa - believe → ūpkutk'u - religion
Deverbal form of sound verb mongt'ūtto - neigh → mongt'ūtta - neighing
millūgūttö - bark → millūgūtte - barking
-u Single instance of an act tōtto - fly → tōttu - flight
Deverbal form of frequentative verbs tahok'yadu - sort → tahok'yadū - sorting
Collective deverbal noun kūt'kōtto - traverse → kūt'kūjō - procession
p'utsek'ye - play → p'utsūjwü - orchestra
Noun → verb
Default noun to verb derivation pwado - paint (N.) → pwadokka - paint (V.)
sillegi - patch (N.) → sillegikke - patch (V.)
Make into X, or add X k'aido - wind → k'aidok'ya - ventilate; fan
kikku - roof → kikkuk'ye - add a roof to a building
Become X pwa - earth → pwak'yotto - decompose
swe - tree → swek'yöttö - become numb (literally "turn into wood")
Hunt or collect something edible kada - fish (N.) → kadapk'wa - fish (V.)
sungkitti - carrot → sungkittipk'we - pick carrots
Do something using X rappanga - hammer (N.) → rappangutsocha - hammer (V.)
mefögi - sand (N.) → mefögutsöche - sand (V.)
Noun → noun
ada-- Bottom, low köngup - floor → ada-göngup - bottom floor
aip-- New kwe - moon → aip-kwe - new moon
allu-- Open, bare pōngo - sea → allu-bōngo - open sea
chūföt'-- Double ittup - portion → chūföt'-ittup - double portion
hyat'ko-- After kunglakkōt'pa - compensation → hyat'ko-gunglakkōt'pa - compensation afterwards
k'ōgu-- Artificial p'yu - reason → k'ōgu-p'yu - pretext
kōt'k'a-- Yellow rüpk'üngüge - white wagtail → kōt'k'a-rüpk'üngüge - yellow wagtail
kutk'yunga-- Opposing force k'aido - wind → kutk'yunga-k'aido - headwind
k'aga-- Back ullo - door → k'aga-ullo - back door
k'yayop-- Full kwe - moon → k'yayop-kwe - full moon
kōpko-- Middle p'ungpo - finger → kōpko-p'ungpo - middle finger
mūjessū-- Top p'ūjungak'yabūp - performance → mūjessū-p'ūjungak'yabūp - top performance
nūpku-- Brown tōmk'o - leaf → nūpku-tōmk'o - brown autumn leaf
ogo-- Forever k'at'lo - winter → ogo-k'at'lo → neverending winter
okp'ō-- Self sökku - betrayal → okp'ō-zökku - self-deception
ōkkū-- Front hat'kak - legs → ōkkū-hat'kak - front legs
ōk'ya-- Remote
ōppo-- Front, first pöngke - sign → ōppo-böngke - (good) example
ōtp'o-- Debute kōngk'a - time → ōtp'o-gōngk'a - first time
ōshk'yunga-- Extra t'yamk'ōt'pa - show → ōshk'yunga-t'yamk'ōt'pa - encore
ōzhu-- Outer p'ollū - side → ōzhu-p'ollū - outside
p'ada-- Secret pūngma - murder → p'ada-būngma - assassination
p'ollū-- Side hugo - river → p'ollū-hugo - tributary
p'op'ya-- Inner ōdot - organ → p'op'ya-ōdot - inner organ
p'otto-- Blue syonyupk'wo - tail → p'otto-syonyupk'wo - red-flanked bluetail
p'ūng-- Large sōngmō - family → p'ūng-sōngmō - large family
pūpk'a-- Black pigingi - sausage → pūpk'a-bigingi - black sausage
p'yonghya-- Back, remote p'ōnūkkū - area → p'yonghya-p'ōnūkkū - place in the sticks
radō-- Fake appū - dress → radō-appū - disguise
ranga-- Precaution, spare uppa - part → ranga-uppa - spare part
rat'ku-- White mallo - shark → rat'ku-mallo - great white shark
ronnōng-- Green kaptofu - plant → ronnōng-kaptofu - flowerless plant with leaves
segū-- Small nūjuga - food → segū-nūjuga - snack
sōngūp-- Basic k'ofōk'u - knowledge → sōngūp-k'ofōk'u - basic knowledge
sūjudo-- Half kwe - moon → sūjudo-kwe - half-moon
sutyo-- Many k'ofōha - sage → sutyo-k'ofōha - polymath
sūtta-- Red notk'a - chest → sūtta-notk'a - robin
sya-- Head, important killūssigu - city → sya-gillūssigu - capital
tyanno-- Near k'ūllaip - future → tyanno-k'ūllaip - near future
ūp'so-- Closed p'ūjudo - intestine → ūp'so-p'ūjudo - cecum
yangkō-- Arch-X ronnadassan - enemy → yangkō-lonnadassan - arch-enemy
Place associated with X kyot'sōttu - bath → kyot'sōttuda - bath house
Person from X Kunnu-lūjungo - Kunnu-lūjungo → Kunnu-lūjungodallossan - Kunnu-lūjungoan
mönekküfö - dump → mönekküfödellössen - person living in a dump
Diminutive form tap'so - pond → tap'sogu - puddle
sungkitti - carrot → sungkittigi - small carrot
Small thing with Xs p'ūjuda - salt → p'ūjudagō - food preserved by salting
sede - pipe → sedekwü - hemp-nettle
-gu Place with lots of Xs, collective X, or something associated with X zap'zū - bamboo → zap'zūgu - bamboo thicket
Female X p'atkango - hero → p'atkangokkang - heroine
sisse - priest → sissekkeng - priestess
Tool or person that uses X t'waba - face → t'wabango - mask
tillūkki - raft → tillūkkingö - ferry man
Thing with Xs uppa - part → uppofu - share
Place with collection of X t'wassūngo - neighbor → t'wassūngopk'u - neighborhood
Natural features that is like X k'appō - plane → k'appōtku - plain
Noun → adjective
ap'zo-NOUN-ossan Both kyappo - hand → ap'zo-kyappossan - ambi-dextrous
sutyo-NOUN-X3 Many allofu - marriage → sutyo-allofossan - polygamistic
Resembling X kada - fish → kadaballossan - fishlike
k'wik'wö - girl → k'wik'wöbellössen - girly
X-like, endowed with X, time, or measure kutsūnga - cupped hand → kutsūngadassan - handful
set'kū - dot → set'kūdessen - dotted
Often X-like p'allongap - sick → p'allongaptutsassan - weak of the body
millūgūtte - barking → millūgūttedutsessen - often barking
Equipped with X mūjudo - worry → mūjudogap - worrying
kūttefi - honor → kūttefigep - honorful
-kkut Lacking X swe - tree → swekkut - treeless
Something that produces X p'akku - harvest → p'akkoppa - bountyful harvest
k'isu - kill (N.) → k'isöppe - someone with many kills
Regular noun to adjective derivation odu - joy → odossan - happy
mefögi - sand → mefögössen - sandy
Something that contains a substance kūt'k'a - gold → kūt'k'azok'ossan - something (e.g. a river) that contains gold
mefögi - sand → mefögizök'össen - something (e.g. mud) that contains sand
Made from X kūt'k'a - gold → kūt'k'assan - golden
swe - tree → swessen - wooden
Noun → adverb
From an X point of view Kunnu-lūjungodallossan - Kunnu-lūjungoan → Kunnu-lūjungodallakkullat - from a Kunnu-lūjungoan's point of view
Locative situative adverb (involving two things in relation to each other) kaplu - face → kaplugullat - face-to-face
t'ūngki - corner → t'ūngkigillet - corner-to-corner
Manner or position p'ollū - side → p'ollūkkullat - sideways
tönegebūp - play → tönegekkillet - not seriously
Adjective → verb
-∅ Be X sūttallossan - red → sūttallossan - be red
tübet → tübet - be warm
Make into X sūttallossan - red → sūttallopk'wa - make red
tübet - warm → tübetk'we - warmen
Adjective → noun
-∅ Person with X quality nogap - rich → nogap - rich person
The X quality sūttallossan - red → sūttallaip - redness
tübet - warm → tübedip - warmth
Person who is being X tallopka - lazy → tallopkūngo - lazy person
Adjective → adjective
kutk'yunga-- Opposing force k'ūjulla - productive → kutk'yunga-k'ūjulla - counter-productive
ogo-- Forever zhūngūjo - old → ogo-zhūngūjo → really, really old
okp'ō-- Self k'ūnnoppa - destructive → okp'ō-k'ūnnoppa - self-destructive
ryamya-- Little tūbossan - snowy → ryamya-dūbossan - something has only little snow
tyasso-- Thoroughly ryangokkak'p'o k'ūttūk - dyed → tyasso-lyangokkak'p'o k'ūttūk - thoroughly dyed
ūp'so-- Completely myūdū - crazy → ūp'so-myūdū - absolutely crazy
Someone or something that is often X-like mochap - slow → mochaptutsassan - often slow
nege - broken → negedutsessen - often broken
-mku2 Diminishes the quality mochap - slow → mochamku - slowish
Tendency to be like X (only used on present participles) k'allossūlla - bending → k'allossūllossan - flexible
negefak'p'ö k'ūlle - getting broken → negefak'p'ö k'ūllössen - fragile
Opposite quality p'ōt'lya - clear → p'ōt'lōsya - unclear
tūjutk'udessen - natural → tūjutk'utwüsye - unnatural
Adjective → adverb
Regular adjective to adverb derivation mochap - slow → mochapk'o - slowly
tūjutk'udessen - natural → tūjutk'udessepk'ö - naturally
Numeral → noun
Shape with X number of sides (2D or 3D) kut'pō - three → kut'pofu - triangle
kwibösen - ten → *kwibösofu6 - decagon
Numeral → adverb
Xs of p'akka - one hundred → p'akkakkullat - hundreds of
kwibössen - ten → kwibössekkillet - tens of

1The last syllable is deleted before this suffix is added, unless the last syllable consisted of a monosyllabic derivational suffix.
2This suffix deletes any final consonant of the word stem. A final -san/-sen becomes -samku/-semku.
3The X stands for any derivational suffix that turns a noun into an adjective. 4In case of past or present passive participles, this suffix is added to the auxiliary verb.
5This suffix deleted any final consonant of the word stem. A final -san/-sen becomes -sapk'o/-sepk'ö.

6Theoretical word.